Regulate airline safety standards


KATHMANDU: The panel formed to probe the Agni Air plane crash has recommended domestic airlines operating Instrumental Flight Rules and Visibility Flight Rules to upgrade safety norms.

The panel issued Interim Safety Recommendation to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, on October 13, to regulate all airline operators to fit flights with mass over 5,700 Kg with Emergency Power Supply and Artificial Horizon.

However, Binod Giri, director of Aviation Safety Department at CAAN denied ‘safety lapses’. “We have implemented all the rules of International Civil Aviation Organisation and CAAN’s regulations and all the planes have the devices,” claimed Giri.

But the panel’s findings contradict Giri’s claim. Talking to THT, Member-secretary of the panel Suresh Acharya said, “We found that some airlines operators had not installed the mandatory devices.” As per ICAO Annex-13, the panel can issue interim safety recommendation for regulating safety measures.

All the aeroplanes in Nepal have got ‘type approval certificates’ from the authorities of the country where the planes are manufactured, Giri added. 3.4.2 (a) of the Flight Operations Requirements according to CAAN regulations reads: All aeroplanes of a maximum certified take-off mass of over 5,700 Kg shall be fitted with an emergency power supply, independent of the main electrical generating system, for the purpose of operating and illuminating, for a period of 30 minutes, and an altitude indicating instrument (artificial Horizon), clearly visible to the pilot-in-command. “CAAN should show us all the 29 flights abiding by the flight operations requirements as mentioned,” said Acharya.

Artificial Horizon is a useful device during poor visibility and indicates the horizon to the pilot-in-command. Emergency Power Supply supports when main generator fails.

According to an Engineer of Safety division at CAAN, there are 29 flights that weigh over 5,700 Kilogram: eight Dornier planes, 10 Jet Stream, five Beach Craft 1900D, one ATR 72 and two each of Beach Craft 1900 C and ATR 42. The panel has been probing the plane crash at Shikharpur, Makawanpur, 19.5 aeronautical miles south of Kathmandu and has to submit its report by November 3.

Acharya rejected media reports that both generators had failed. “We are waiting for the report on both generators, which have been sent to Germany,” he said. The panel has already got the report of CVR and FDR from the US but is yet to get the report of the scripts of talks between Air traffic controller, pilot and co-pilot.

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